Friday, February 3, 2012

Five best books about the Nuremberg trials

William Shawcross is a widely renowned writer and broadcaster. His books include Dubcek (1970), Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (1979), The Shah’s Last Ride (1989), Deliver Us From Evil: Warlords and Peacekeepers in a World of Endless Conflict (2001), and Justice and the Enemy: Nuremberg, 9/11, and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (2012).

One of his five best books about the Nuremberg trials and the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
The Nuremberg Interviews
by Leon Goldensohn (2004)

In early 1946, a psychiatrist in the U.S. Army named Leon Goldensohn was assigned as the prison psychiatrist at Nuremberg. He conducted interviews with most of the principal defendants in the trials and kept detailed notes of the sessions, which were conducted through a prison interpreter. In this posthumously published work, he makes no bones about seeing the prisoners as "subjects"; he wanted to understand the Nazi "pathology" and the reasons for their "depravities." One must remember that all the prisoners talked to this alien doctor while they were on trial for the lives, and they must have feared that whatever they said might be used in evidence against them. (It was not.) But even special pleading can be revealing. Hermann Goering, the former high-ranking Nazi officer and the most important defendant at Nuremberg, was asked why he had joined with Hitler in the 1920s. "Well, I was against the Versailles Treaty and I was against the democratic state which failed to solve the problem of unemployment" and was diminishing Germany, he replied. "I am convinced that German culture, even now with Germany in ruins, is the highest in the world because we had the greatest art, music, industrial capacity, and so forth." Goering committed suicide on the eve of his execution.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue